ORU to Face Western Illinois in Tournament Opener
ELMHURST, Ill. - Second-seeded Oral Roberts University will face seventh-seeded Western Illinois University in the first round of the 2012 Summit League Championship, the League office announced today. The game is scheduled to begin at 2:30 pm on Saturday, March 3 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Western Illinois, IUPUI and Oakland each finished the regular season with identical 7-11 Summit League records. IUPUI was given the fifth seed by virtue of their Jan. 14 victory over ORU, while WIU and Oakland each had identical records against all League opponents. The tie was broken by each team’s RPI ranking, which gave the nod to Oakland.
The Grizzlies will take on No. 3 seed UMKC in the first round, with the winner of that game facing the winner of the ORU vs. Western Illinois on Monday at 2:30 pm.
Regular season champion South Dakota State will meet IPFW to anchor the other side of the bracket, while North Dakota State and IUPUI will square off in the 4-5 matchup.
The first two rounds of the event will be televised locally by Cox Channel 3 in Tulsa and around the nation on Fox College Sports.
The championship game will take place on Tuesday, March 6 at 3 pm, with television coverage provided by ESPNU. The winner of the tournament earns the Summit’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
ORU won both regular season meetings with Western Illinois in 2011-12. The Golden Eagles earned a 78-66 win on Jan. 16 in Macomb, Ill., with Kevi Luper scoring a game-high 27 points.
The return trip, on Feb. 11 in Tulsa, was an 84-69 ORU victory. Luper poured in 31 points, while Bernadett Balla added 16.
ORU is 21-9 all-time in the Summit League Tournament, winning the championship in 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008. The Golden Eagles have a 9-5 record in quarterfinal games at the event.
Jerry Finkbeiner’s club is 4-0 against Western Illinois at the Summit League Tournament, including a 108-79 quarterfinal victory in 2011. ORU won a 75-72 overtime quarterfinal matchup over the Leathernecks in 2002, a 72-70 overtime semifinal game in 2004 and a 43-37 semifinal battle in 2005.
The Golden Eagles enter the Tournament on a season-high five-game winning streak, and their most recent RPI of 103 is also a high watermark in 2011-12.